IRA bombings in London- In the book The Wild Colonial Boy, by James Hynes, a young man is sent over to Ireland with money for the IRA’s cause, and he gets recruited to carry explosives into London for a bombing to protest the acceptance of parliamentary seats by Irish elected representatives. The exact political scenario in this novel was fictional, but based on facts. There have been several incidents in London connected to IRA splinter groups.
- In 1994 the PIRA (Provisional IRA) launched several mortar attacks on Heathrow Airport in London, but the mortars all failed to explode.
- The Docklands/Canary Wharf/South Quay bombing – 9 February 1996 – a truck bomb with 2 fatalities
- In 2000, the RIRA (Real IRA) fired a rocket propelled grenade at the MI6 headquarters in London
- BBC bombing – 4 March 2001 – car bomb using a taxi, and since it was already being addressed by a bomb squad when it went off, there was only 1 injury
- The Ealing bombing – 3 August 2001 – a car bomb, causing no deaths but 7 injuries
So, no recent attacks on the National Gallery or any other art museum, but thr IRA has made its presence known in London, and in rather recent memory. The IRA split at several points in its history as the ‘main’ branch moved on towards nonviolent tactics and politics, leaving the militant members to go on as fringe groups with new names, fighting the same old fight, as if the rest of Ireland and the whole world has not changed drastically since the 1960’s. There is still tension in Ireland, and just last year there were significant riots after a group of pro-British Orangemen got permission to march a parade through the neighborhood of their opponents. Outsiders tended to think it was pretty dumb and childish for this group to have insisted on this parade route in the first place, and I have to wonder why it was allowed, but it was and the riots that resulted left burnt out husks of buildings, lots of smashed windows, and many injuries. Maybe as my generation ages and takes over as the grown-ups in charge, we may see Ireland and the UK move on and stop fighting so much, but I’m not holding my breath. Too many people enjoy a ‘good fight’, making it far too easy for this conflict to flare up again.